tv U.S. Senate CSPAN May 16, 2011 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT
comes in the form of title 6 or the a.d.a. or title 9 perhaps were -- if not wrongly adopted then to the extent that they have been validated by the courts as not being ultra virus. those decisions may have been at fault. i'd like to ask mr. marcus, mr. shelton and mr. singh, why your plea for federal intervention, in your case, mr. marcus, it comes to religious-based religious discrimination. mr. shelton, in your plea for protection of all groups and your similar plea, mr. singh, about protections for all groups and federal intervention, if that's what's required?
>> thank you, commissioner actenberg, i'm not recommending any federal intervention on behalf of religious minorities beyond what is already provided for other groups. what i'm saying is only equal protection for religious minorities. it would not require any degree of expansion of existing law, only the extension of existing law to cover groups that are protected under many other civil rights laws, but not under title 6. so then the question becomes, i think, why is it important for religious minority groups to have that same protection which other groups have? and what i would say is this, there are many, many schools that have existing policies that prohibit religious discrimination that's widespread in the policies of school boards, of state education
agencies so on and so forth. it's also true with respect to accreditation agencies in the higher ed field. the problem is that it is one thing to require teachers and administrators to refrain from discrimination and another thing to actually create an enforcement apparatus that will make them accountable if they don't. and what i'm saying is that when you create an administrative apparatus that's available for some groups but not others, the excluded groups are not able to hold educators accountable when they fail to comply with policies of their schools. >> thank you. >> we would strongly oppose any use of school vouchers as a tool of achieving this goal. i know it's confusing how --
[inaudible] >> it's so good to see you yet again. [laughter] >> but let me say that, quite frankly, as we talk about federal intervention, we're talking, quite frankly, the creation of programs to help students understand what's going on. we're talking about a very young age, some students that are in grade high schools and our high schools that for some reason take exception to those they perceive as being different. some of the commonalities that we've heard here whether it's black students and other black students are somehow acting more white, which is not compliant with the conflict of behavior they are used to or what they expect to in their schools and the differences of students, most of the bullying described here in this place is bullying against those that are perceived for one reason or another that has been different. to create programs to help educate students and actually help clear them for the differences not only in their schools but in the world. that's what we're talking about for federal intervention. educational programs and other --
[inaudible] >> and why i believe this kind of behavior is so damaging. i have children from 7 to 16 that attend schools that put a lot of emphasis on diversity. they talk about how important the differences are between us and how what we should celebrate those differences and not somehow ostracize each other because of them. it is that kind of prevention, we believe, both by the federal government as well as programs that can be sponsored by nongovernmental organizations that we see as being most successful in preventing the kind of bullying that we're discussing. >> i share the sentiments presented by mr. marcus. you know, we're not really looking for or pursuing categories that are protected under laws religion is a protected category in employment and accommodations. it's afforded protection under the hate crimes prevention act
but beyond sort of the legal argument, the legal argument, rather, we believe that federal intervention becomes a moral imperative when local and state school officials as similar to the ones i described in my testimony. in new york, you know, they become kind of lackadaisical and their sort of obligations with respect to protecting children i would also like to add that many of the arguments that have been made about the appropriateness in of affording federal protection to students in the bullying context were made during the civil rights movement in opposition to efforts to afford minimal civil rights that we enjoy now under the civil rights act. so now that is a point that we would like to underscore. thank you. >> the chair recognizes
commissione commissioners. >> maybe i'll get a second chance to ask questions but i think i'm going to address my first question is it -- ms. gym? okay. i thought your testimony was very helpful and you're a very effective advocate and it's very chilling to hear of the incidents occurring. and we've heard them before and, quite frankly, this is why it's so helpful to me to contrast in the situation you described in south philadelphia there was physical violence. there was actual knowledge and there was actual involvement in the school officials in discriminating and did he think rights. it was absolutely objectively unreasonable by anyone's standard. it was pervasive by the number of students involved and yet we asked for months for information from the justice department on what they were doing. and we got a big goose egg.
now, maybe they were really acting fast and i expect since you're pleased with the final resolution, you're going to be less likely to -- but i read some of the news reports and it seemed like there was a lot of impatience in the community. and -- it is undoubtedly the federal government's role to serve as a back-stop to enforce the nondiscrimination where there really is bullying, but here are my two concerns and i wonder if you could address them. one is that when you call everything bullying, you kind of dumb down real bullying. and secondly, whether it really will distract the federal government from moving swiftly in incidents like yours or like there was a situation similar to what pacer described for discrimination that is equally chilling. if they are told they really need to police teasing that some
people consider or wearing t-shirts that someone doesn't like. how long did the investigation run? how many months was it before you got some sort of response back from the justice department? [inaudible] >> federal investigators were at the school beginning their interviews by the end of february. i'm not really familiar at all with any federal processes of any sort. so -- >> and the final settlement? >> the final settlement was in december of 2010. there was a letter -- a letter of intent, i'm sorry. i'm not sure what the exact title was that was delivered to the school district in the summer that indicated that they had found a finding of merit -- i'm sorry. a finding of merit towards the school district in the summer. the school district began to move once the finding of merit was delivered to them and then began to move -- for example, they passed a brand-new
harassment policy. they replaced the principal at the school. they hired a consultant to work with them. they presented different programs that they had done, but -- and i think that might have -- i don't know what we were worried about that we weren't sure how complicated that made it for the federal government and what we were trying to present to them was that the central issue of harassment within the school, training for students i think that they did that for literally five minutes. they had a five-minute training for students on harassment. and then another one that followed up at 10 minutes. that those were not valid. they weren't sincere efforts. that there was a real need to take a look at harassment and not to kind of gloss over it. and that the school district's harassment policy itself was deeply flawed because it essentially reiterated the 14th amendment which said, please don't harass anybody based on
their race. so, you know, it was hard for us to understand what exactly what the process was happening and what i'd like to commend the u.s. department of justice for, for a bit, is that they were in contact with us. we were deeply afraid that once we filed with them in january, that we would hear nothing back from them ever at any point in time. and, you know, we would just write it off. but they ended up collaborating with the state human relations commission where we also filed another -- a separate complaint, you know, just in case things weren't -- you know -- we weren't sure what was going to happen. and they ended up collaborating and collapsing the settlement agreements together. they have a stronger statement actually from some state department of human relations in terms of their findings, but, you know, the settlement agreement is the same. >> thank you very much. >> the chair recognizes commissioner titus. who will be followed by commissioner heriot and then
myself. >> i would like to address my question and it's kind of a continuation of the commissioner's question earlier. as you mentioned statistics show that students with disabilities are more likely to be harassed and bullied than students under any other protected class. and yet we probably hear less about that in the press and from policymakers. you went on to say that kind of because of that, you support federal legislation to address the problem with things like teacher training, data collection, school sensitivity programs. now, i know from experience in nevada that you work with nonprofits at the state level and also with state legislatures. and yet you see the need for and value of federal legislation. i wonder, do you agree with mr. sikh, is not only is it better policy to have a federal standard instead of a patchwork of different definitions and also it results in better enforcement but it is a moral imperative?
[inaudible] >> i believe it's a moral imp r imperati imperative. we hear about children with disabilities but children with any issue, we had 800,000 people -- students visit our website last year. we had a young girl who said she was thinking of committing suicide. she went on our website for teenagers and changed her mind. so it's kids with disabilities. it's all kids. it is so pervasive that indeed it is a moral imperative. the harm that's happening to these kids -- you talk about mental health issues. these kids end up with mental health issues. 160,000 kids drop out of school every day because they've been bullied. children end up with so many issues their entire life. the story i told about the families, their lives have been changed forever. so, yes, i agree we need federal legislation.
i think we have 45 states that have their own laws, but it is not working. we wouldn't be here today -- you wouldn't have this hearing today if it was working. it's not working. therefore, we need something consistent. with kids with disabilities, we passed the individuals with disabilities education act 30-some years ago. states had their own, but we needed a federal law to protect children, to educate children to have positive outcomes. that's why we need a federal law across the country. >> thank you. >> the chair recognizes commissioner heriot? >> thank you. i would like to ask the rest of the panel to comment on something that mr. shelton mentioned. some civil rights organizations, i believe the naacp is among them, have taken the position not with regard to bullying generally but rather that there's a problem with excessive school disciplines across-the-board. too many expulsions, too many
suspensions in the schools. and i'd have to say i agree with mr. shelton when he's concerned about zero tolerance rules and i think they're a big problem and i worry very much that federal intervention here creates an incentive for zero tolerance rules. i guess i don't agree if we're talking about outside the area of zero tolerance rules that there's a problem with excessive school disciplines. i guess my question here has to be, you know, it seems to me that part of the solution has to lie with more discipline and yet what i'm hearing from most of the witnesses is not a call for more discipline but a call for more sensitive training. i think there was some mention of more multicultural curriculum decisions. is it possible to control this problem without tougher
discipline? and is it possible to use tougher discipline under the jurisdiction of the federal government? does the federal intervention make it more difficult for teachers and principals to use the kind of discretion that's necessary to control real bullying? >> whoever feels comfortable. i don't expect everyone to answer this. go ahead. >> i can only speak to what happened in our case, at south philadelphia high school. so the school district of philadelphia does have a zero tolerance policy. it certainly has the highest number of -- >> zero tolerance of what? of>> zero tolerance in schools. >> and, you know, what we felt like was that in incidents of bias and harassment that it was an easy crutch. after the south philadelphia -- after the december 3rd beatings they automatically suspended 10 students. we didn't actually know who they were, why they were there.
it ended up including two of the immigrant student victims who had actually been beaten in the melee. so it was a simple crutch for them and then they wiped their hands and walked away. so essentially they got -- they changed over the security staff. they put in $700,000 in security cameras and they suspended 10 students. and that satisfied them. >> should those students have been expelled in your question. >> the question is whether that incident was investigated -- should they be -- >> more punished. i'm saying that there's -- there should -- it certainly exists discipline and punishment for students who are doing that. but the larger issue of tackling really what we thought was rampant anti-asian anti-immigrant bias at this school was not addressed and
instead the simple crutch of relying on a handful of expulsions give you a couple security cameras and we are done and walk away and that's not simple. and it's something people lean on so we got a lot of reaction from a lot of people saying you should just, you know -- just can the whole schools. it's a lot more complicated than that. >> do you think a lot of people -- >> thank you, commissioner, heriot. i will take the mic at this point. thank you for your question. we'll come back at the end again. mr. singh mentioned that the chancellor's policy was great on paper but not enforced or implemented properly. you mentioned mrs. gym that there were training policies and procedures that were in place and there were also requirements for language access. my question is, in terms of the language access aspect of this, while there may be something good on paper, what is the
actual practical effect of making these policies, procedures and trainings accessible to individuals who are english-proficient limited and the flip side is to the extent any of your organizations have antibullying material websites, to what extent do you make those accessible for folks who are limited english-proficient? >> ultimately, the changes that we've seen at the school -- that story isn't going to ever be told through the courts or through settlements or policies or things like that. the most dramatic change we've seen is that there's been an incredible group of students and organized a really good -- students who became very organized around these issues. certainly now go out and work with other students at other schools and talk to them and have done workshops around the country. so, you know, for us the
language access -- the thing that was very crystal and helpful was that the department of justice was crystal clear about what the districts and that school's obligations were for language so that they must use language line if an interpreter is not available. the school district actually disagreed to train half of its counseling force which is not -- it's a kind of a flexible position and they agreed to train them in formal interpretations -- how to become a formal interpreter so it wasn't just a matter of someone at the school who spoke the language but someone who had been formally trained who actually knew how to interpret actually in a disciplinary situation if there were wednesday or if a student is reporting violence against them. the schools, by having and working up to the school district, the department of justice allows some flexibility
for the school to determine best to share the information with the broader school but, you know, the harassment training is for the school -- for the students and the staff. it feels like there's a lot more responsiveness and responsibility that the school is conscious of. we also have a brand-new principal which has made a big difference as a result of the work. he's been much more contentious about language access and being concerned that translation is done effectively and appropriately. >> the chair recognized commissioner -- [inaudible] >> what strikes me is we have an issue with respect to definition. i've heard considerable amount of testimony and there's been no fault of your own -- i think this is a definitional issue that's pervaded all panels and
the entire issue. we have a spectrum. we have bullying or maybe teasing, bullying, harassment, violence and some of those things kind of overlap. ms. gym, your testimony especially struck me that there were ten suspensions of students for actions on based what you described would normally land people in jail for a considerable period of time. these were criminal acts. i'm struck by the fact that the only punishments were suspensions. did anyone ever actually end up serving jail time for assaulting and battering it seems to me almost, you know, a battery with the intent to commit grievous bodily harm, if not death? any jail time at all? >> no. >> it also strikes me that i didn't hear in your testimony any kind of repercussions other
than possibly the firing of a principal. i'm not sure if he was fired toward the staff that would normally happen in any kind of functional environment. and this was clearly dysfunctional. it seems to me some of these staff members should have not just been fired but should have private causes of action against them in tort for permitting this negligent conduct. did any of this occur? >> no. >> the chair recommends commissioner yaki. [inaudible] >> i have a question for mr. semr. mr. sers markes and gym. mr. buck, i don't think this is in your whale house but in your testimony this morning, there was much ado by some who criticized the notion of
expanding the protections of -- against bullying to people -- members of the lgbt community because, quote-unquote, it's really local discretion. and it could be better handled at a local level. we don't need the federal government coming in to deal with this. i'd like your opinion as people who have dealt with this issue for quite some time about whether you believe that bullying is an issue that should just be handled locally with their own thing or why you believe instead a federal policy that deals with the issue? >> sorry. [inaudible] >> i was going to say -- when you're speaking, you're speaking this way and your mic is over here and that was a no-no in the
old days. >> commissioner yaki i would distinguish between those forms of bullying which also constitute harassment and those that do not. to the extent that bullying constitutes harassment on the basis of a group characteristic, which we collectively consider to be invidious i would say it is entirely appropriate for the federal government to continue to act as it has acted for several decades and should step in and to insist if federal dollars are being used to fund an educational program, that those federal dollars should not be used in ways that support activities that harass people based on minority status. but i would also say that the topic of bullying can be much broader and can include activities that does not address the minority or raise to the very high legal threshold for constituting harassment.
and in those cases i would say that i share a skepticism about federal displacement of the responsibility of local officials. >> i think the federal government has a role in the standing and i agree what commissioner kirsanow said -- [inaudible] >> said about the differential of definitions and interpretation. i think there are many, many different definitions of interpretation. what is simply childish behavior. what is actually criminal behavior in many of these cases. we didn't make much of a distinction, quite frankly, in the conversation between the forms of bullying that are physical and violent from the forms of bullying that are harassing and otherwise demeaning. and i think we have to have those kind of national or federal standards to help understand the local level. i do, however, think that every
community has differences. and that very well communities should be left to determine what is in the best interest certainly within the guise of those particular standards. >> mr. sikh? >> i don't disagree with much that has been said in a general manner. to the extent that a student finds himself or herself in an environment that might lead him or her to commit suicide, for example, on the basis of sexual orientation because of the lgbt sort of characteristics, that's unacceptable. i mean, that teams uncontroversial to us. so as we vigorously pursue extension of protection to students in respect to religion, it would be sort of intellectual, morally inconsistent for us to withhold those sorts of protections to lgbt students, you know, subject to some of the issues that have
been raised earlier about the definitions and this sort of thing. but in general terms, that's where we stand on that particular issue. >> thank you. >> the chair recognizes vice chair thernstrom. >> i have a question for -- [inaudible] >> but just one preliminary statement first. i have been -- i've seen a lot of schools. i spent a lot of time in schools. i've seen great schools. they are orderly. there's no fooling, there's no running in the halls, there's no fighting, no fighting in the playground. there's no ugly language to other kids. there's no excessive language to teachers. there is a general culture of civility in the school. but it all starts at the top with the principal and that principal insists that every teacher in every classroom all day long re-enforce that
culture. and it seems to me that the description -- the descriptions, i should say, that goldberg provided and the whole philadelphia incident which i have long been interested in, you're talking about stories of failures of school authorities, of principals, of teachers, of -- you know, in the case of philadelphia, it went beyond that one school. and there is no solution to that except allowing schools who have been totally delinquent in the way they train teachers. they put on very little emphasis
on the important of civility and managing classrooms. but you've got to have schools in which principals, it seems to me -- in which principals have the freedom to look at the kids in their particular school, and those may be a different group than the -- you know, a school a mile away and say, in this school, these are the messages we need to deliver. these are the kids who we need to work with, and we need to work closely with them. and my is that these schools -- and most of the great schools i've seen are charter schools. my preference is that these principals and these teachers be able to say to a child, it's your choice whether you want to be in this school or not. you can't go along with us, you can't go along with our culture
think leadership is important at the level of the administrator and i think we have a way to go to change that. so i do agree with you in many ways. i think there are excellent public schools out there. and one of the things that i recommended was positive behavior intervention supports. noted researcher. professor george segai, he has done amazing work in building that respect and he talks about a triangle and there are few children at the top. you build that respect and he doesn't say -- kids who are bullied because they also have issues. so you build that respect all the way through the school and you provide some more intensive help for those kids who are having problems, who are the bullies or who have been bullied there are ways that have been noted by a number of years of research that we can do to improve your schools. so thank you for bringing that up.
>> i have a quick response. first thing that when people talk about south philadelphia high school they talk about it as a failing public school in which case the foe can you is -- focus overwhelmingly on test scores. in that context issues like how are we getting along, is there cultural conflict, do we have space to talk about the problems in the school are completely off the table? when we met with them in march fostering the dialogue, they said we're in testing season. we don't have time. this is too much time for us. we're stressed out. we're trying to do too much. so you're asking us to do something else. in a school where the school is overly focused or somehow separated the notion that test scores are separated from character or academic excellence has nothing to do with your values or things like that i think that it's gotten a little wrong. the second thing i want to point out is that both nationally and specifically in philadelphia what we're
seeing is an increasing concentration of immigrant students within neighborhood high schools. the urban institute in 2005 showed 70% of the english language learners are housed in just 10% of elementary schools. in philadelphia itself, 3/4 of immigrant students are housed in just nine high schools. that is largely to do, in some ways because philadelphia is extremely choice-oriented system n a choice-oriented is system some can choose and some that can't. among those who can't are the immigrant students. they don't, charter high schools, there are only 4 out of 61 high schools in a 2007 study, one of which was ours, that served 10% or more immigrant students within them. there is no money goes to charters. the charter school we built which serves immigrants, since we have a mission to do so. we have five teachers, homeschool liaison, handful of statutetores. we get no more money than
any other charter school that serves zero immigrant students. there is no possibility for these students. so we're seeing them come back to our schools. if we know the immigrant students are there and the numbers are increasing so a nearby school the numbers tripled in percentage of asian students and immigrant students have tripled the last three years, then why would we not train, approach it like, it shouldn't be shocking or surprising or disappointing or frightening, that people have bias. you know, i think it is like, people carry bias. people have uncertain interpretations when they meet somebody different and new. conflict shouldn't be scary. but what's wrong is when people don't help children negotiate conflict, help them learn how to handle and identify what is harrassment. what is it when you cross the line? and i don't like you and i will pick up a baseball bat and beat you with it.
at what point should you say, you should know better and i don't think we taught them that. >> the chair recognizes the acting director followed by commissioner achtenberg. >> my question is for mr. marcus. regarding religion, what do you say to the suggestion that your 2004 guidance and current department of education guidance on title iv simply bootstrap currently unprotected group into title six protection? to be leer in your answer, give us examples of types of religious-based harrassment and bullying which today would not be covered under title six until ex-police italy expanded to include religion? explicitly. >> thank you i will start with the section part of your question, i would say under current law that i believe that, discrimination against a religious group that lacks ethnic characteristics is not covered.
now i'm not sure that i would want to go through on a case-by-case basis about all of the different religious groups but there are some religions that do not claim any sort of ethnic or ancestral particularty but rather more a universal characteristic and i think that is a large percentage of the students in the united states who do not belong to such a religion. i would say most forms of religious harrassment would not be covered. in addition i would say that to the extent there's a loophole where religious discrimination is not covered, if it is just based on the tenets of religious belief. even discrimination against jews or sihks or others is just based on what they believe. under ocr guidance a group that has ethnic characteristics like jews if you can not prove it is based on their ethnicity it
is not covered. when you have this sort of loophole it makes enforcement v. difficult. makes it difficult why exactly did this one child beat up or harass another child? was it religion, ethnicity? as a practical matter is very important to eliminate that loophole. if i understood the first part of your question i think you're asking me whether the 2004 and 2010 ocr policies create a right that doesn't exist under the statute? in other words, whether the civil rights act of 1964 does not cover groups like jews and sikhs. and whether my policy and inappropriately extends that? now i've written extensively on that. i written an entire book on the topic, called jewish identity and civil rights in america to address that i also published academic articles to address it.
let me try very quickly. the u.s. supreme court in the case of shari versus cobb asked a question whether jews are coveredding a as a member of a racial group under the civil rights act of 1966? and answered, yes because, because congress intended to protect racial groups in a very broad sense and that in 1866 the term race was understood to include jews, arabs and other groups. one might say well that might have been true in 1866 but not in the 1964. in 1964 jews were not considered to be members of a distinct racial group. my answer to that is that the civil rights act of 1964 was not intended to create new rights against racial discrimination but rather was intended to create an administrative enforcement
apparatus to protect the rights that were already established in the equal protection clause and in other parts of the constitution and to that extent the appropriate way understanding the scope of anti-racism protection in title six is to look back to the equal protection clause, the 1866 act, so on, so forth and the supreme court has already done that work in thari versus cobb. >> the chair recognizes commissioner achtenberg. and then thereafter, commissioner heriot. >> if religion were a protected class, let's say, some of the legislation that is currently in front of the congress were to be, that would specifically include religion were to be adopted,
what would be your reaction to a student coming to school wearing a t-shirt that said, jews killed christ? and the reason i'm boss you lating this hypothetical is we heard this morning that the, the issue of students harrassment and intrastudent violence has to be bounded to some significant extent by respect for the first amendment with which i completely concur, and it was further postulated that we can't, we can't inhibit
students from expressing unpopular beliefs or beliefs that might be motivated by their own religious affiliation or what have you. and i concur with that as well. i'm wondering what significance if any you would ascribe to such t-shirt wearing and where you draw the line in terms of protection first amendment speech and where you where things bleed over into activity shall we say that would be subject to civil rights law protection? >> certainly. very difficult and important question, commissioner. let me start with the engining of your question
that referred to legislation now pending before congress. >> yes. >> i would say there is legislation pending before congress that does the important work of including religion within provisions requiring school districts or universities to prohibit certain forms of bullying. >> yes. >> but none of those bills that i've seen are enough because none of those bills would require the use of an enforcement system like what is used for title six. so i would say none much those forms of legislation as written would actually be terribly helpful. i think it is vitally important that if the solution comes through one of the existing bills that those bills be modified with language similar to what was in title iv that requires the department of education to create an enforcement system comparable to what is used in title vi.
having said that, in your example, i would say that in my view the t-shirt that you describe that says that jews killed christ is protected under the speech clause first amendment. >> i would concur. >> however it is my view that the correct response of educators to protected by offensive speech is never to do nothing and that educators need to know that even if they are legally prohibited from regulating speech, or punishing it, that's not the end of the inquiry. educators need to know that there are lots of form of hostile behavior that require response from the educators. often it should be an opportunity to teach students about civility, tolerance, so on, so forth. we're exactly one draws the line is very difficult.
i would say that i think that the standard established by the supreme court in davis versus monroe county goes quite some distance although perhaps not far enough, to prevent the enforcement of harrassment law in ways that would chill protected speech in that less stringent standards create a risk that, that protected speech would nevertheless be chilled. so i think that the first step is to make sure that the appropriate legal standard is being used. and i also think that educators before they regulate speech should try any other less intrusive alternative way of ensuring that their goals are met.
but i would also say that there are others with greater expertise than i including, if i'm not mistaken, professor bolick is in the room and may be able to address the first amendment questions with greater detail. >> [inaudible]. >> we have four minutes left before this panel runs out. so i'm afraid all the commissioners who have asked for questions of this panel aren't going to be able to, giving last question to commissioner. gaziano. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i will add a hypothetical which i hope will help explain to others moo that concern with ocr's new guidance is not so much new classes, suspect classes but the extent of the children's behavior that they seem to be reaching. in a situation where we have real physical violence, actual knowledge, you know, i want the justice department to swoop in and have a zero-tolerance policy
on violence and do what it takes to stop it. but in the situation where we've got the acting, by the way, i believe your analogy works mostly but not completely. i believe you have the stronger case for racial discrimination. i think the kids at least are discriminating. but in the davis standard where it must be severe, persuasive and objectively offensive, that clearly met in the south philly situation, the ocr standard is severe, pervasive. here is my hypothetical. every week a particular child is called whitey, black child is called or acting white by some member or whatever. and the school could be said to, it should have had knowledge because they observed, or could observe that he is never allowed to play in any of the reindeer games with any of the other kids in his cohort. would it be, you think
effective, give the culture, the cultural norms that you've been studying, for the doj or ocr s.w.a.t. team to sweep in and declare zero tolerance for anymore acting white? there would be immediate suspensions and expulsions? is that likely to improve the situation for the top, high-achieving black students? or is it likely to possibly cut the other way? >> well it is hard to predict what with would happen in that situation. you could imagine it might -- imagine that some people might view it calling in a largely white authority group from outside to come in and enforce more, kind of white norms of behavior and, so it might cut the other way as you suggest. so, yeah, i mean, personally i guess i am rather skeptical of turning every incident of kids being mean
to each other into a federal crime. certainly there are many kays but it does rise to that level of abusiveness. i'm not sure it will be productive to expend resources of the federal government in every situation you can imagine. >> thank you all. appreciate on -- >> four minutes left. >> i have 2:42 is the time we're stopping. that's what i have on my watch here. but i will start with you at the next panel. >> [inaudible]. >> i'm sure you will. so, thank you, on behalf of the commission for being here and we want to commend you on all your work and look forward to continuing to see your work. >> just ahead, retired four-star u.s. marine corps general james jones who served as president obama's national security advisor, he will talk about policy in the middle east. live coverage starts at 1:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. the u.s. senate gavels in for general speeches.
judicial nomination is on tomorrow's agenda. also possible this week, oil company subsidies and tax breaks plus domestic oil production. you can see the senate live on c-span 2 starting 2:00 p.m. eastern today. now nasa's 25th and final launch of the shut shut is taking supplies and -- space shuttle endeavour. the two week commission includes four spacewalks the last for a shuttle crew to perform maintenance and install new components. from the kennedy space center in cape canaveral, florida. this is just over 10 minutes. >> no unexpected errors. >> happy that. close and lock your advisors. initiate o-2 flow. >> t mine must two minutes and counting. >> go is for et, lh-2 pressurization.
>> closing liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen fill drain valves. standing by for the handoff to endeavour's onboard computers. t-minus 31 seconds and the hand qualify -- handoff has occurred. >> 25. 20. >> firing chain is armed. pressure water system is armed. main engine start. eight, seven, six, four, three, two, --. zero, and liftoff for the final launch of endeavour. expanding our knowledge, expanding our lives in space. >> houston endeavour.
>> roger, endeaf vour. >> houston is now controlling. endeavour roll over on to its back. the roll program underway as endeavour begins the heads down position on course for 51.6 degree, 136 by 136 statute mile orbit. >> three engines throttling down as endeavour passes through the area of maximum dynamic pressure on the vehicle in lower atmosphere. approaching one minute into the flight. >> endeavour go at throttle up. >> roger, go at throttle up. >> endeavour's three main engines now back at full
throttle. all three engines in good shape. endeavour's already traveling 1300 mirls per hour at an altitude of 11 miles downrange from the kennedy space center. now 12 miles. at liftoff endeavour fully fueled weighed 4 1/2 million pounds t already lost half that weight in propellant. next event is burn out and separation of the twin solid rocket boosters. that upcoming here shortly at the two minute three second point. those boosters are burning 11,000 pounds of fuel per second. standing by for separation of the solid rocket boosters.
the onboard guidance civil has done its job of settling out any dispersions introduced at booster separation. the orbiter is now traveling 3200 miles an hour downrange 50 miles, altitude 37 miles. all systems in good shape. three good hydraulic systems. auxiliary power units and fuel cells. the fuel cells providing electrical power to all of the systems. >> two engines down. >> endeavour can reach a tal site in event after single-engine failure. however all three are in good shape. space shuttle endeavour sailing into fairwinds on its final historic voyage. this view looking down the external fuel tank. the orbiter there on the top as endeavour continues power its way into orbit,
traveling 4,000 miles an hour downrange, 90 miles altitude. 3 minutes 50 seconds into the flight. all three main inbegins still looking in good shape. hydraulic systems and electrical systems onboard the orbiter. >> endeavour, negative return. >> roger, negative return. >> endeavour can no longer return to the kennedy space center in the event of an engine failure now but all three are still in good
shape as are all of the other systems aboard the orbiter. quiet in mission control as a team of flight controllers watches over all the systems. four minutes 20 seconds into the flight, endeavour is traveling 5500 miles an hour, altitude 63 miles, traveling downrange, 186 miles or about 335,000 feet in altitude. environmental and control systems officer here reporting a good flash of operator system, providing cooling to all of the avery on nicks equipment aboard the vehicle. traveling into space on the for ward flight deck, commander, mark kelly and. behind them. roberto vittori, rinding out the flight deck crew is mike fincke. >> roger. press to ato. >> endeavour can reach orbit on two engines should one fail at this point however all three are still
performing as planned. down on the mid-deck of endeavour, drew feustel, and greg chamitoff. if he is headed to the international space station for the first time. vittori and fincke making their first voyage on the space shuttle after flying to the international space station aboard sigh yuz spacecraft previously. -- soyuz. >> endeavour, single-engine ops three. >> roger, single-engine ops three. >> that call indicates endeavour could reach a transatlantic aboth site on one engine if it lost two of the three although all three are still in good shape. five minutes 50 seconds into the flight. >> endeavour, press domico and single-engine 104. >> roger, press domico and
104. >> several calls there. endeavour can reach a safe orbit on two engines now. the guidance system is controlling the engines to roll endeavour to a head's up position to optimize the air to ground communications through the satellite network. flight controllers reporting to flight director richard jones they're in good shape. >> shutdown plan is nominal. >> copy, shutdown plan is nominal. >> mark go to plus x, go the pitch. >> roger, go for the plus x, go for the pitch. >> endeavour, single-engine press 104. >> roger. single engine press 104. >> endeavour can reach orbit on one engine should two fail. all three are still in good shape. the three main engines are
flowing fuel through their power systems at a rate equivalent to draining an average backyard swimming pool in 25 seconds. seven minutes, 20 seconds into the flight, altitude, 64 miles downrange from the kennedy space center. 630 miles. endeavour is traveling 13,500 miles an hour. we're now seeing throttling on the three main engines to maintain the 3g or three times gravity load on the vehicle and the crew. engines at 8 2% of rated thrust. eight minutes into the flight the next activity is main engine cuttoff. that is expected to be commanded at 21 seconds.
>> we have not -- >> on the information on the website. >> james jones served as president obama's national security advisor from 2009 to 2010 and this afternoon he'll be speaking on u.s. policy in the middle east. general jones is being introduced by mark hamrick. this is live on c-span2. >> i'd also like to welcome our c-span and public radio. you can also follow the action on twitter using the hash tag -- using the -- using the search term hash tag npc lunch. after our guest speech concludes we'll have a q & a and i'll ask as many questions as time permit permits. and now it's time to introduce our head table guests. i would like each of you to please stand up briefly as your name is announced.
so from your right, mark ronanda of the harris corporation. john fail as columnist with the "washington times." myron belkin is our club's secretary and he's adjunct professor with george washington university, former associated press bureau chief in london, tokyo and new delhi. lee perriman, mrs. diane jones, wife of general james jones, our guest speaker today. now, moving over the podium, melissa charbeanno and pat milton with the cbs news and she's a new member of the speakers committee and she organized today's event. pat, thank you very much. buzz hefty is a guest of the
speaker. andrea stone with the "huffington post." john donnelly senior writer with "congressional quarterly" covering defense and foreign policy issues and he is vice chair of our board of governors. and shannon o'reilly a new member of the national press club. she is with the center for new american security. please give them a round of applause. [applause] >> our guest speaker today is a man who spent his life facing the most critical challenges one can imagine and handling them with grace and a steady hand. those who know him point to his intelligence, his integrity, his calmness, his confidence and believe it or not, his sense of humor. at 6'4" he played basketball for the georgetown hoyas and could have probably pursued a sports career but he chose to follow in the footsteps of his father and uncle and joined the marine corps and he had big shoes to
fill. his father retired as a major and in world war ii, he was the first commander of marine corps force reconnaissance, that's the marine version of the navy seals. all three, father, son and uncle ended up serving in vietnam at the same time in the late 1960s. after the war, he was faced with a crucial decision. if he was going to have a career in the military, he would have to follow orders to japan. and that meant leaving his wife and four children under the age of 6, behind for more than a year. that would be a huge burden for the family, but like most decisions in his life, he had married well, too. his wife, diane, took on that responsibility and he would be forever grateful and so is the nation. not everybody who works hard and pursues his dream ends up as commandant of the u.s. marine corps and then supreme allied commander of europe and then has chosen to be the u.s. national security advisor to the president of the united states, president barack obama, but there is only one general james
jones. general jones has served his country selflessly and with distinction and unknown to most people, general jones, many times, used to ride his bicycle to work at the white house. that meant a pre-dawn 14-mile long trip from his suburban washington home depending on the route chosen that day by his security detail. he speaks fluent french. he's a big fan of country music star toby keith. in fact, he had keith perform for the marines in washington where he urged him for the first time to sing his now famous hit "angry american." since leaving government and military service our guest speaker has turned his focus to launching a consulting companians group international and there he is confronting 21st century national security issues to improve u.s. economic competitiveness and to develop a comprehensive energy strategy. of course, his areas of expertise are relevant to affairs of life and death. the most critical decisions that rise to the highest levels of government. and that's why we're so pleased
to have him as our guest speaker today. please give a warm national press club welcome to general james jones. [applause] >> thank you very much, mark. and it's a great honor to be here and i want to compliment you on your choice of weapons. [laughter] >> this is very impressive and marines like knives so depending on how aggressive the questions get. [laughter] >> be forewarned, we're defending the podium. i am thrilled to be here. and i want to thank all of you for coming. i want to especially thank pat milton for her hard work and bringing this together. i've been asked to speak on the strategic implications of current and continuing development from the greater middle east.
and fortunately we have plenty of time to cover a subject like that, 20 minutes. [laughter] >> which should be more than adequate to be completely superfluous for anything we talk about. for those who thought the iraq and afghanistan conflicts were representative of how the 21st century was going to announce itself in terms of the type of conflicts we faced, we really found out quite recently how wrong their thinking was. the rapidly changing landscape especially the last few months tells us why it is very, very difficult to accurately predict the future it underscores how crucial it is that we do our bevest to assess the strategic implications of recent events and to not be distracted from the historical potential what superficially appears to be
similar but are very diverse series of events. and while all of these events in north africa and in the middle east share some linkage, all are quite different. and all retain their own unique character. i actually feel very sorry for my successor and the staff at the national security council for the amount of -- for the influx in the number of issues that have just surfaced just in the last few months. and we owe them a great debt of thanks in the way they manage these things so capably. but what seems to me is an awakening of an entire generation of young people in many countries. young people who have come to the realization almost at the same time, absent major reforms in the way they are currently governed, their future and that of their children holds little promise for them. they are aware perhaps as never
before of the options that are available to people elsewhere in the world. and this awareness comes from a diverse number of sources. it comes from travel. it comes from the internet. it comes from the fact that some have been educated abroad in different countries. it comes from word of mouth. whatever the source of this new awareness, it is powerful enough to change the course of history and to do so extremely rapidly. what we're witnessing in the middle east and in north africa literally in particular, is the most significant historical event since the end of the cold war. while some people claim that they knew that these social tremors were developing in several countries, no one could have predicted with any accuracy the spark that would cause the eruption of so many people almost simultaneously.
one thing is sure, even if this awakening movement stopped tomorrow, and it won't, even the most oppressive regimes on the planet have been put on notice. and while this is generally a good thing, it does present some special challenges for the united states and its leadership not only in the region but in the world. so the phenomenon of the events that are unfolding in north africa for the past few months has relegated the traditional headline grabbers to lesser positions in our collective attention. iran's nuclear project, a hot topic for 2009 and 2010, our national disengagement of troops in iraq and the wars in afghanistan and other events have taken place in our daily focus but all of these remain as critically important as ever before, perhaps even more so.
in iran, for example, a country which still casts its menacing shadow over the entire region inattention to the fact that just over 30 years ago the fall of the shah of iran was supposed to lead to a more open iranian society but yielded just the opposite. we can be sure that the now temporarily quieter iran is working extremely hard to ensure that the new tunisia, the new egypt and the president assad and the uncertainty in yemen and the peace talks between israelis and the palestinians and the so-called reconciliation of hamas and fatah all come out the way they want. at the same time, the regime has continued its nuclear program unimpeded by global condemnation and so far by the sanctions that have been applied by the global community. we can be sure that this regime
has to be paying close attention to the popular movements going on around it, especially in syria, where another oppressive regime is experiencing a popular challenge to its legitimacy to lead the nation. and as we watch the brutality of events unfold in syria we should be mindful of the strategic consequences of any solution to the current challenges to that government. lebanon and jordan both merit different but special attentions in this regard as well. the middle east peace process perhaps the longest running major global issue of our time, the one that most people who have studied the problem and its history know with near certainty what the ultimate resolution will look like, it's just that no one is willing to take the first step in the process required to get there. how tragic? this is not -- this is not to say that it is unsolvable or unresolvable but it is to say
time is not on anyone reside. in fact, the inability to make even the smallest progress is hurtful to both sides. and perpetuates an issue that affects not only the region but a large part of the world. for the past few years, americans, arabs, and europeans to include russia have largely been in agreement with regard to what must happen in order to establish a palestinian state and to satisfy israel's legitimate concerns for its own security. but it hasn't happened yet. senator george mitchell's departure from the scene after a herculean effort for which our nation should be grateful is not an indication that peace is at hand and iran is quite content with this development and the situation. the implications of the fatah/hamas reconciliation need further analysis but initial signs are that this may not be helpful for the process either. nearby in iraq, the current flirtations of the iraqi
government with iran is not exactly what we had in mind when the new iraqi sovereignty was restored in 2009. yet, just a few weeks ago, on the 8th of april, uniformed iraqi troops launched an unprovoked attack on a camp where several thousand iranian expatriates had lived for many years. this attack on unarmed people which u.s. forces protected from 2003 to 2009 resulted in 35 dead and over 200 wounded including women and children. the evidence of collusion between iraq and iran to initiate this attack is strong. so the questions that should be asked of ourselves are becoming clearer as we withdraw our combat forces from iraq. what have we really created in iraq? and what will we have to show for the normenormity for our sacrifice. when we look at strategically important countries, egypt is an
important, and that egypt turns into iran. and egypt has shown the worthy of the trust of the egyptian people as they move towards september elections. on this point, it is worth thinking about how the united states will relate to the new egyptian government. from my perspective, it may be time to consider a bold idea which would demonstrate our welcome to the new egypt by considering the type of marshall plan for emerging democratic states like egypt and young egyptians are trying to form. such a plan would be international in scope as the world has much to gain from any security, economic, and governmental assistance that can be provided at this critical time in egypt's history. it would also send a clear message to people who currently may doubt our intentions, and it will limit the effort of radical elements who obviously want to create a totally different world, one country at a time.
egypt, of course, is foremost in their thoughts. so egypt and what happens there in the future is very much an inflection point that we should pay attention to. with regard to libya, well, we should applaud the speed with which the united nations and the north atlantic treaty organization and to a certain extent the arab league and the african union responded to the humanitarian issue to have a mandate to protect citizens of the implementation of the no-fly zone and the naval blockade. the gadhafi regime are willing to take a long view regarding the struggle. libya is not on par with egypt in terms of idle interests but how this crisis is resolved and when it is resolved is of great
importance, to us, to the north atlantic treaty organization whose success despite a quite limited mandate will ultimately be evaluated against the regime's survival or its collapse. it may be unfortunate but it happens to be reality. the crisis in which the u.s. plays a supportive role will also be influenced in large part by the arab league and the african union whose early voices have been more forceful than expected and hopefully this will continue. certainly european interest in the outcome of this libyan situation is very, very important and for a good reason. in afghanistan, and by necessary association, pakistan, 2014 is now the year where president karzai will get his wish, to have full control of his
nation's security, economy, and governance. by that year. the past of that, some of our forces and some of our ally forces is underway. this is encouraging as the plan for transferring to afghan's control of each province one at a time and as governance and economic situations take hold is something we've worked on for quite a while. this massive effort which has taken its toll in many countries and at great cost has come to the point that we cannot want for the afghans that which they either do not want for themselves or are unwilling to fight for themselves in order to bring peace and a better way of life to that country. this was true in south vietnam as i discovered as a young 23-year-old second lieutenant and it is true in afghanistan.
their future destiny beyond 2014 will be up to them,s as president karzai demanded at the london conference. they will have the means to chart their own destiny and time will tell if they have the will. a word or two on pakistan, pakistan and the fate of osama bin laden are intertwined in the ultimate outcome. bin laden's fate and the fate of the majority of al-qaeda's leadership over the past few years -- over the past few years should serve as a clear warning to those who would lead such movements in the future. like no one since perhaps hitler and stalin, bin laden unified much of the world against his type of threat. the result is now clear. the world is safer because of the astounding progress made by the cohesion of operational and intelligence assets of many of our governments, who see this menace as an attack. this is a major achievement which should not be ignored
where human, technological and the need for rapid decision-making now permits us to be more confident that osama bin laden and others like him will fail. the fallout with pakistan over the discovery of bin laden's now operational headquarters near islamabad will have important and perhaps long-lasting consequences. pakistan has thus far resisted the offer of a long-term strategic relationship with the united states and other countries which would help bring a better life for its citizens and a more peaceful region to its east and to its west. while pakistan should be given credit for some incremental progress in rooting out some terrorists within their borders, notably in the swat valley and south waziristan which were both successful military interventions, the undeniable fact their deeply flawed decision to not put their army along the border with afghanistan, this is in 2006,
thinking that the tribes would in exchange for the army not being present would patrol the border and prevent illegal crossings. pakistan has become a selective safe haven for terrorists and terrorist leaders. and this fact alone has resulted in prolonging the efforts in afghanistan and continues to cause us and our allies to suffer many more casualties and to deplete our national treasury at a time when we can ill afford to do so. like egypt, the strategic importance of pakistan cannot be overstated and despite the current tensions between our countries over the bin laden incident and with regard to safe havens, it is time to consider the possibilities that we can ensure that the conclusions to the hunt for bin laden will become a starting point for
renewed effort to find a common ground on issues that we should all care about and that affect our national or collective security and our future hopes for regional peace, which will be to the betterment of pakistan and its people and to the betterment of its neighbors on either side. failure to capitalize in a positive way on this strategic moment would be a mistake on strategic proportions. the global events we witness each day is astounding. these events are forcing strategic decisions to be made at a more rapid pace than ever before. we will clearly need an increasingly more proactive engagement strategy to prevent future conflicts and to meet the challenges of our smaller in terms of speed of activity but more globalized world. 21st century requires that we rethink the 20th century
concepts of how we deal with the tectonic changes to the global landscape. american leadership and the ability to form appropriate and timely solution sets to the enormous diversity to global challenges will continue to be necessary perhaps as never before. i'm very optimistic that this can be done. in times of crisis, america has always found the solution to its most serious and threatening challenges, may it always be so. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you very much. we'll begin with the questions coming from our audience and, obviously, osama bin laden being -- seeming to be the most pressing news story of the past several weeks and that's the area where we begin and on the question of pakistan, how can the united states get pakistan to be a more reliable partner. you talked about trying to make
a renewed effort but how do you get that going? the carrots and sticks, mostly carrots approach to try to overe the -- the hurdles that are in this relationship. one of the things that it's important to try to do when you deal with complex issues like this is try to understand how the other guy on the other side is looking at the same set of
problems. and while we have made some progress, we certainly could not have done a lot of the things that we've achieved with regard to eliminating some of the al-qaeda leaders and terrorists over the past two years with great success. we've also been helpful, i think, in addressing some of pakistan's concern. we've come to their aid in times of humanitarian disaster in 2006, an earthquake. more recently, major floods. but we still have not crossed that threshold where what we have proposed as a long-term strategic relationship and all that implies including economic development, people to people programs, the involvement of the whole of government, if you will, not just ours, but also a significant portion of the
international community. apply to pakistan's future and an expectation of really two things, one is to renounced the use of terror as an instrument of foreign policy, which most countries around the world do. and the other is to ultimately move against terrorist safe havens that exist. and as i said in my remarks, cause the afghan -- the rate of progress in afghanistan to be more difficult and take longer than it perhaps should. so i think we'll to have wait and see how this plays out. after the -- all of the intelligence is analyzed and, you know, there's a clearer picture of who knew what and when, and then to see if pakistan and the united states can get together and maybe rebaseline the relationship and go into what is an absolutely
strategically important relationship that will not only -- the solution of which will not only help pakistan's relationship in the long term but also provide for more stability in afghanistan and to the east and india. they are -- we're fortunate to have prime minister singh who has taken efforts to make sure there's no provocation but it's a sensitive time because another attack from pakistan on india will be hard -- it will be hard-pressed to contain a reaction that would greatly destabilize the region. and pakistan, i think, is acutely aware of that and we've carried that message to them several times. so let's hope that with -- now the bin laden hunt has been concluded, that we can build on
the relationship and do the things that are absolutely important for our collective security. >> so senator kerry was quoted as saying we need to find a way to march forward if it's possible. and if it's not possible, there are a set of downside consequences that can be profound. he didn't elaborate what those downside risks are. you talk about the upside. what are the downside risks? >> well, i just touched on one. the downside risks are that any other attacks emanating from the territory where the government of pakistan could have and did not move against a terrorist safe haven and an successful attack is carried out in another country whether it's europe, the united states or india, it will be very hard for any leader to resist the human cry from the public to say, you know, why don't you do something about this? and if and when that happens,
that is very much the downside in terms of the future stability of the region. and we'll embark then on a new set of completely different parameters that we're working on now. so let's hope that as senator kerry pointed -- point has pointed out, and logic indicates it should and i think we should continue to try to understand pakistani sensitivities and perspectives and if we need to come to some agreements about what happened or didn't happen 10 or 20 years ago, let's get beyond this. we're worried about what's happening today and what's going to happen tomorrow. and that's what's important. >> a questioner asked how much were you involved in the discussions in the white house about an intelligence lead and
what can you tell us about that? >> nothing. [laughter] >> i can say as has pointed out by members of our government that this was a long process. it started many years ago. the first real breakthrough came last year. and we made the decision, the president made the decision, to exploit and develop this potential target which turned out to be the last of the, you know, the last of the dry holes and the effort in it was truly amazing. and i think as i touched upon i think one of the unintended consequences of bin laden's rein of terror, if i could use those
words, are the agree of intelligence and operational forces not only in our country but in many, many countries that we work with every day have now come together to create a situation where we are at least aware of where these movements are going. whereas, before we were chasing them and we would react to them. we have -- we have been quite successful and have been quite proactive not only in causing huge damage to the leadership structure of al-qaeda but also anticipating and having a pretty good idea where they're operating on the planet and what their intent is. >> a question asked what do you think of the use of interrogation techniques that reportedly led to the discovery of bin laden's hideout and should they be banned? >> well, this is a predictable consequence, i think, for both sides of the argument.
my personal view is that i -- i do not support the idea that the united states should be viewed for all of the values that we stand for as a nation that condones torture. and i'm going to let the -- kind of the debate will go on now as to what exactly was extracted and who knew what when and i won't be involved in that but i do think that the president's decision in 2009 was correct. and i think that more will -- this debate will continue and we'll see where it goes, and i think it gets to the definition of what really -- what is torture and what isn't. but more to be said about that, i think, as the -- as the dialog unfolds. >> what are your thoughts about
the u.s. special forces who carried out the mission to kill bin laden? or ended up killing him? >> well, i'm -- i think we're all in great admiration for all of our young men and women in uniform, wherever they are, and wherever they serve. they are wonderful examples of society. they're all volunteers. and some of them go into special forces. each service has them. they are truly great patriots and heroic people that would not hesitate to make the ultimate sacrifice for the values and the causes we believe in. and even for other countries. so i don't have the vocabulary to, i think, adequately express my admiration. i've been privileged to work with them for 40 years in uniform. i admire what they do.
and i think in this particular case, it goes to show just how good they really are and it's something we can be very thankful for. >> i asked you earlier about, before we came down here today, about the relevance of apparently the operational involvement of bin laden that we now know in retrospect. could you talk about how that perhaps informs us about what has been going on and what it means about the potential for attacks in the future? >> well, i think that while the degree to which, at least initially, if i read the reports correctly, the degree to which he was involved may have been a surprise but i don't think it's necessarily indicative that there's -- there's a major threat as a result of his involvement. he was always going to be the symbolic leader. we just had this image of him living in a cave and coming out at times to release a video or a
documentary or to make some statement. we do know that bin laden last year had was personally involved in planning some so-called major attack on the european land mass. and as an example of our collaboration with our european friends and allies, we worked very hard and very long to make sure that we shared whatever intelligence we had with them and they with us. and in the course of trying to prevent that attack, we're able to, each country participating, was really able to clean up some bad actors in different countries. and for reasons that i don't know, but i'm happy about. that attack never came off.
and i believe that the fact that bin laden is now no longer able to lead, he will inspire, but he won't be personally planning things. the fact is that we're probably all safer in terms of a grandiose event, a-la 9/11. there will be repercussions on the tactical level but poorly planned but type of attacks. but there's no question, i think, that because of the way in which our intelligence organizations work and our operational forces planned and our willingness to transfer information very rapidly in order to thwart these kinds of attacks, that it's quite possible that this would be a defining moment in the war against terror.
and i hope that it is. >> and you said earlier -- and i'd just like to perhaps reelaborate on it a little bit about the remarkable extend now that you see the collaboration among nations on gathering intelligence that you said would not have occurred had it not been for 9/11. could you elaborate on that a little bit? >> well, yes. i think it was obvious that al-qaeda caused us to really reevaluate not only our own internal processes and the harmony that exists in the intelligence community on how you measure -- how you bring intelligence to the operators and how you do that in a relatively secure mode so you don't jeopardize the sources or the operation itself really had a transformational effect, the benefits of which that we are
reaping today. what goes on 24/7 around-the-clock in this capitol and in others is astounding. and it speaks well, i think, to the passion to defend this country and others. and the rate in which we can convert useful technology and to helping us win this battle has been great. and the international community that's come together to make all of our borders safe is something that i'm sure bin laden never thought about, but it is -- it is a consequence. it is a reality. and we should be thankful because this will apply not just against al-qaeda but applies against all terrorist organizations that might have similar designs. >> in that it's the tenth anniversary of 9/11 coming up,
is there a danger that governments and people become complacent in that we haven't had a serious attack since then? >> you know, i would -- we've had -- we've had attempts. none of them have been successful. the one that worries me the most was the one that was -- the vehicle in times square that didn't detonate. but those who know about these things have concluded that that was really a successful attack. it's just at the moment of detonation, the kinetic capabilities of the bomb did not work. and so many lives were probably spared. that caused us to really go back and work even harder to try to find out what we could do better to make sure that no attack gets
that far. as the anniversary comes up, i think vigilance -- i can assure that vigilance will be extremely high and we should take nothing for granted. we're still not out of this. and while we can take -- we can rejoice that the immediate outcome of the last two weeks, the threat is still there. it's still real. but thank god we have dedicated people who will not be lulled to be complacent. and knowing how the rhythms of the discussions on these issues in the white house i can assure you that's -- i don't think there's any chance that anybody will take their pack off the subject. >> so the questions being asked about, does this change our commitment in afghanistan, that bin laden is gone? and i know secretary gates has essentially said it's too early
to ask that question. but obviously the question is being asked. so right now, based on what we know, what level and pace of troop withdrawals would you recommend? [laughter] >> we do -- we do want to finish around 2:00, right? [laughter] >> i actually -- i mean, i actually really think that we have, since the nato summit in portugal in december, have a coalescive game plan in terms of a country. we're the biggest player by far but we're not the only ones who are paying a price for this -- for our involvement in afghanistan. other countries are as well, and we should be grateful for their sacrifice and their effort.
in december of last year, at the lisbon summit, the nato summit, the countries agreed that we would honor president karzai's request that he be in full control of his country, security, economic, and governance by 2014. the road to 2014 will start this year. i don't know what the recommendation will be in terms of, you know -- how much -- how much -- what our -- how many of our troops will leave or how many our allies will leave. i don't know a lot of the details except for the concept that makes sense. at some point afghans, after all these years, are going to have to step up to the task. we should -- we the international community should continue to support them as best we can. but the decision has generally been made by 2014, this will
be -- we are all shooting to making president karzai's desire a reality. from a u.s. perspective, we have offered a long-term strategic relationship with the government of afghanistan. we'll see how that plays out. there's certain things that we would like to see happen, i'm sure. we would like to see governance and rule of law become more paramount in that country. we would like to see corruption decreased, and we'd like to do so some economic renewal. we'd like to encourage the international community, the business community, to invest in afghanistan. but this will be a relatively short period of time between now and 2014 when all of these things will have to be put in place. one thing that is positive is the transference to iraqi province, as each province is ready to take over economic and
governance responsibilities as an exciting program and it's pretty straightforward. you can see it on a simple map. i'm told that effort is underway and the progress that we're making is encouraging just as the security investment that we made over a couple of years ago is now paying good dividends as well. >> the questioner asks what guarantee when the u.s. forces withdraw of iraq the vacuum power won't be filled by radical elements? >> well, unfortunately, there is no guarantee. and just as there is no guarantee that iraq, when we pull out, won't chart its own path that might not be in total harmony with what we had in mind. we hope that's not the case. but one sure way to make sure the linkages between these
efforts goes the way we would like to see them, and that is to say to provide a better way of life and more opportunity for the people of iraq and afghanistan is to really take a wholistic approach to not just security but also economic investment and development and also to the extent that we can influencing the government and rule of law reforms that the people of iraq and the people of afghanistan clearly want and deserve. and so it isn't just about the security aspect of things. you have to have security to establish a certain level of capabilities elsewhere in the society but we should never take our eye off the fact that more needs to be done than just defeating saddam hussein or defeating the taliban or
al-qaeda. we learned that lesson in world war ii with germany and japan. everywhere we have taken a more wholistic approach to problem-solving, we've done well. i just got back from south korea not long ago. and, you know, what a great success story south korea is, the one all korean war veterans should take great pride in and that's the ambition for the other countries that we're trying to help and other countries are trying to help as well, so let's hope that we can be successful but let's also remember that we can't want this any more than the people themselves want it in the long term. >> well, and that's a great transition point to president obama's speech that will deal with all these questions. so we had a couple questions here, essentially, what would you hope he can accomplish? and what would you advise him to include in that speech? >> i thought i'd given this job
up. [laughter] >> well, you know, on the issue of national security, it's clear that national security has a much broader portfolio than ever before. it includes cybersecurity. it includes economic issues. it includes things like climate. it includes things like energy, in particular. i think if i were to make any kind of contribution in the future, it would be towards tackling not only our deficit and our economic situation but critically our energy portfolio and how it's managed for the future. this is a truly 21st century problem that we're facing.
it requires leadership at the highest level. i've used the analogy that president eisenhower, when he had his vision for the highway system, really had a lot of opposition to the idea of building highways to nowhere in our country. and aren't we glad that he prevailed? and gave us this fantastic road system that we have today. i liken the energy problem to the highway problem of years ago. we need an energy highway that takes us to a destination, and that destination includes harnessing the technologies that are available, analyzing the portfolio, making whatever -- whatever organizational structural reforms that we need in our executive branch and legislature branch to create a really bipartisan approach to what, i think, is one of the most serious challenges that we
face. the good news is, that it's doable. it really is doable. americans know how to do this. and the american people want this. it's not a question of reacting when the price per gallon of gas is $5 or $4 and get forgetting about it when it goes below $3. this is a steady state problem that will affect us. it will affect our next generation and the generation after that. it affects our balance of payments. it affects just about -- just about everything i can think of. so in addition to the president's many, many problems, i would hope that the administration can find the conviction and the time to turn to this particular critical problem because it's not only important domestically, but it's important -- it's an important component of how the u.s. will lead in the 21st century, and the role that we will play on the global playing field on what is not only a national security issue but an international
security issue as well. frankly, if you look at the emergence -- if you look at the growing disparity between the haves and the have-not nations, one way that you can bridge that gap and have convergence instead of divergence is for the advanced societies to help the societies that are now the -- the governments that are now getting to that point where they have to choose between fossil fuels and not much else. we can help them jump that generation so that they don't damage the climate and to get to cleaner, more affordable energy sources in the future. and a greater variety of energy sources. the united states can lead in that effort and can -- while we can't do it by ourselves, we can significantly affect the global playing field with regard to energy in the 21st century, which is as important as anything else that i think the
president will have to take on in his remaining years in office. >> uh-huh. so among the areas that one might hope there would be bipartisan agreement and the congress has to do with the fundings of the operations of the government with the budgetary pressures that are facing the nation now. it seems as if defense spending may have to be reduced. where do you see perhaps the most rational solutions there? >> well, i think secretary gates has just been superb in anticipating this reality. as early as two years ago, he started talking about the need to find economies of scale within the defense department and set about to do that. i think what we're really talking about here is a re-evaluation of kind of roles and missions in the sense that
the likelihood of a major peer rival-level 20th century conflict are pretty remote but the likelihood of being -- of being asked to help shape the environment in different parts of the world are probably pretty high. but it's going to take a different organizational construct in terms of the types of forces that are used. and by the way, i think those forces will have to be used in conjunction with a whole of government approach depending on what it is we're trying to change or affect. i think we have left the 20th century, which was in terms of -- in terms of warfare, a reactive type of century. nato was a reactive organization. i don't think we have the luxury of reacting and waiting a long time to react to things that we know are going to happen. and if you know it's going to happen, then perhaps you can
affect the outcome by engaging earlier and with the right proscription, the right amount of aid, the right amount of training, the right amount of economic incentive. and a much closer working relationship between the public and private sector, i think is going to help us is great deal and we'll continue to re-enforce i think the destiny that all americans want is that in 20 or 30 years, we want to be a nation of -- that is respected and admired and influential in the globe. that's going to be a different century. and, therefore, our response to different challenges is going to have to be different. and we're going to have to organize ourselves to be more rapid, to be more agile. and it doesn't necessarily mean that we're going to be doing things the way we did them in the 20th century and that will apply to the defense department,
and i think secretary gates and the joint chiefs fully understand that. we've been through economic hard times. and in those times, those services did some of their better thinking. you don't tend to -- tend to think too much if the money trough is completely unopen all the time and you tend to just take it and use it. but when it tightens a little bit, that's when you really start thinking, okay, what do we really need here? what is it that we're trying to do? how do we organize ourselves? and how do we -- how do we get through this period in a useful way? and i think -- i think what secretary gates has achieved and the president has supported his actions, has been despite that process so it's not a surprised. >> i ask you to be succinct in the next question because we're almost running out of time.
but how do you feel about what we're doing with libya right now? >> well, i think that's an open question. we all understand, you know, how we got in there. the president made a decision to forestall a humanitarian catastrophe. and largely succeeded in doing that. but putting your foot into libya translated into the united nations and nato reacting relatively quickly for two organizations that are usually criticized for being too late -- too little, too late and too slow. and now it is a nato operation. it's a nato operation with a limited mandate to protect the population. and as i said in my remarks, i think it's still too early to tell, but it looks like gadhafi is -- you know, at least has the wherewithal to ride this out for
a little bit longer. but, unfortunately, the judgment will be in the not too distant future if gadhafi still remains at the helm of his country that despite that the mandate didn't ask for any kind of support to an overthrow but to support the protection of innocent people, they will be judged against whether gadhafi stays in office. that's just -- that's just reality. it may not be fair but i do think it's a little bit too early yet to see how this is going to play out. >> we're almost out of time. but before we ask the last question, a couple of housekeeping matters to take care of. i'd like to remind you all about some upcoming luncheon speakers. on may 20th, richard trumka president of afl-cio will be our guest and then may 26th juan williams the political commentator and fox news contributor will appear in a sense to reply to vivian schiller's speech from earlier in the year when she held the job as head of npr about his
firing. she addressed those issues then. gary sinise on down the road and oscar-nominated oscar will talk about his charity supporting the military and i'd also like to remind you that on june 11th, the national press club hosts its 14th annual beat the deadline 5k race. now, secondly, i would like to go through the tradition here of presenting our guest with the highly coveted npc mug but it's not as handy as the steak knife that you had as well. >> thank you, john. [applause] >> my last question is about movies. what is your favorite film about
war? [laughter] >> i have two. the first one is "from here to eternity." and the second one is "sands of iwo jima." and what i particularly like about the "the sands of iwo jima" was john wayne as sergeant striker when he was lecturing one of his marines who did something wrong and he said something that i've always used since i -- since i heard it, and he said, life is tough, but it's tougher if you're stupid. [laughter] >> that's good. how about a round of applause for our speaker today. [applause] >> thank you to all of you for coming today and also to general jones. and i'd like to thank national press club staff including our library and broadcast center for helping to organize today's event. and finally a reminder that you
senate will come to order. the chaplain dr. barry black will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. almighty god, you are supreme over all the nations. with loyalty and love, you continue to guide us. as our senators deal with today's challenges, unite them in the common task of doing what is best for our nation and world. may they see they can accomplish far more working together than
they can by embracing disunity. when they are tempted to doubt, steady their faith. when they don't know what to do, give them a wisdom that can change and shape our times according to your plan. empower them to trust you more fully, to live for you more completely, and to serve you more willingly. we pray in your majestic name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation
under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c., may 16, 2011. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable joe manchin a senator from the state of west virginia to perform the duties of the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: mr. leader, please. mr. reid: following any leader remarks, the senate will be in a period of morning business for debate only until 5:00 today. there will be no votes today. the first roll call vote of the week will be around noon tomorrow on the confirmation of susan carney of connecticut to be united states circuit judge for the second circuit. i'm told there are two bills at the desk due for second reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the titles of the bill
for the second time. the clerk: h.r. 1229, an act to amend the outercontinental shelf's land act to facilitate the save atomic reduction from the gulf of mexico and so forth and for other purposes. s. 990, a bill to provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the small business act and the small business investment act of 1958, and for other purposes. mr. reid: mr. president, i would object to any further proceedings with respect to these two bills. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the bills will be placed on the calendar. mr. reid: mr. president, imagine there is a choice for congress to make. here's the choice. there are two doors, we're standing before both of them. we have to pick one of the doors. behind door number one is a choice the chairman of the federal reserve calls catastrophic. the secretary of treasury says that if we open that same door, it could lead to a financial crisis more severe than the
crisis from which we are now only starting to recover. let me repeat that, mr. president. chairman bernanke says that if we open that door, it would be catastrophic. secretary geithner says it would lead to a financial crisis -- quote -- "more severe than the crisis from which we only now are beginning to recover." the majority of the american people we represent say opening that door would be disastrous. not just a bad idea. not one that would lead to discomfort, but one that would lead to disaster. it wouldn't be just irresponsible to make that choice. it would be -- we would be out of our minds. well, we are going to have to make up our minds and do that sooner rather than later. that's because today america has hit a milestone but it isn't one that anyone is celebrating. today is the day we hit our debt limit, which means we have reached the maximum amount the united states is allowed to borrow.
it means that with each passing day, we're that much closer to the disaster that would come from defaulting on our debts, a day we would forfeit for the first time ever in the history of this great history of this country full faith and credit of the united states. this is the crisis chairman bernanke called catastrophic, that secretary geithner warned would lead to the great recession ten times over, it would make the great recession look small, and what the american people demand we avoid. defaulting on our obligations would be unprecedented but it is not unavoidable. we can be responsible leaders and choose to open the other door. it might not be ideal, but we have to make a choice. door number two is a much better, safer and smarter choice. let's be clear about what the debt limit does and doesn't need. raising the debt when it's absolutely necessary -- that is, the debt limit and do it right
now lets us pay the bills that have already come due. we borrow a lot of money in this country. that's not a new phenomenon or unique to one party. it's how america has done business for centuries. borrowing a lot of money means we owe a lot of money. we cannot cut off our own ability to pay those debts. here's what it doesn't mean. the emergency we enter today isn't about a penny of new spending. it's not about new programs or new taxes. it's about creating new obligations that is meeting existing ones, not creating new obligations. the debt limit is about paying what we already owe. if we don't act, if we allow the united states to default, the day of reckoning will be much, much worse than today. things will be much, much worse for american jobs, families and businesses than they already are, and the fallout will be felt around the world. right now, a lot of people are reaching for that first door, the one that leads to
catastrophe and crisis. they're looking at this choice through a political lens, not an economic lens. they are willing to risk the strength of our economy just to make a political point. we can't afford to play these political games and trigger a default crisis that will lead to a catastrophe. we can't afford to make unrealistic demands or hold hostage policies that affect real people. speaker boehner recently asked that everyone should act like an adult and reach a solution. i second that request. let's open the second door and honor our obligations. once we avert this crisis, we can have another important adult conversation, a conversation about saving. one good way to do that -- not the only way, but a good, easy, obvious way is to cut wasteful spending. taxpayer giveaways to companies pulling in record profits are the epitome of wasteful spending. we all know the companies i'm talking about, the five biggest
oil and gas companies. it's time to make sure that we take away their incentives that they don't need and they can't afford -- that they can't afford. we can't afford to give them to them. that's a question that will come before the senate this week. it's a question of fairness, really. the bonus checks taxpayers are writing to big oil are absurd and obscene. they defy common sense. the big oil companies that we know are not hurting. it doesn't need a hand, big oil. in the first three months of this year, the oil industry made made $36 billion in profits alone. not revenues, mr. president, profits. that's $12 billion a month, that's $3 billion a week. that's pretty good money. meanwhile, the american taxpayer is getting -- giving the same successful companies $4 billion a year. when you take these companies' profits, add in the handout every american gives them, you
say you take the 52 weeks, we'll give you the 53rd week for free. what about the average american taxpayer, the one who is footing the bill with this big oil bonus? exxonmobil now pays a smaller share of its income taxes than the average taxpayer. this isn't because the average american isn't paying more in taxes. it's because big oil is paying less. over the last four years since democrats have controlled the senate, we have cut taxes for middle-class families nine different times. the democratic senate has passed passed $1.5 trillion tax cut in different ways. again, the democratic senate has passed a $1.5 trillion tax cut. now families pay less in federal taxes as a share of the federal economy since 1950 when harry truman was president. so this really is a question of fairness. it's about big oil paying its fair share. it's also a question of priorities. the people who want to keep giving big oil $4 billion a year
are the same ones who want to take the social safety net away from the sick, seniors and the poor. these people kick and scream about investing in cancer research or protecting student loans and help so many afford the rising cost of college, but ask them to recognize the absurdity of giving big oil taxpayer money it doesn't need, they cover their eyes and plug their ears. ask them to defend it, and they can't. that's what happened last week. the nation watched the big oil bosses try to defend. fraifl, they didn't do a very good job. it's not their fault for doing so poorly. they were trying to defend an indefensible position, but it is their fault for holding that position. so this is a question of fairness and a question of priorities. certainly a question of economics. but it is not a question of gas prices. independent, nonpartisan experts and seen some of the c.e.o.'s themselves say taking away these giveaways doesn't give a -- i'm
sorry. let me say that again. independent, nonpartisan experts and even some of the c.e.o.'s themselves say taking away these giveaways doesn't have a thing to do with the price at the pump. anyone who claims otherwise is simply not telling the truth. those distractions are disruptive to this debate. so are the gratuitous attacks on the patriotism of debaters. one of those companies, conoco phillips, said using taxpayer money to pay down the deficit rather than pad big oil pockets -- big oil's pockets was un-american. it's hard to comprhend that, mr. president. conoco phillips said using taxpayer money to pay down the deficit rather than pad big oil's pockets was un-american. that's conoco phillips' words, not mine. attacking another's patriotism has no place in this debate. it's offensive that this company has done that. that is saying because we want to pay down the debt and not give these bonuses to these big oil companies that it's
un-american. i don't think so. it's offensive that this company has done that and shameful that its c.e.o. refuses to recant or to apologize on tv this past week. i disagree strongly with his position on this issue. i disagree with his claim that only one side of this debate loves this country. i question his sense of fairness, i question his priorities, but i don't question his patriotism. he shouldn't question mine. would the chair announce morning business? the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. and under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business for debate only until 5:00 p.m. with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. mr. reid: i would note the absence of a quorum, mr. president. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. a senator: i ask consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, when word spread that american forces found and killed osama bin laden, americans gathered all across the country. places like ground zero, new york's times square, and in front of the white house to celebrate the news. mr. boozman: for more than a decade, bin laden had been on the f.b.i.'s top 10 most-wanted list, and the announcement that our military conducted successful operation in pakistan filled us with a national pride. after nearly 3,000 americans
died in the september 11 attacks, bin laden, the plot's mastermind, was named public enemy number 1. the years following that troj i can day, he -- tragic day, he alluded capture. justice finally caught up with him, and as a result of years of hard work and dedication from the brave men and women in our military and intelligence community, the death of osama bin laden allows us to close the chapter of the global war on terror. but it does not mean the end of the threat from al qaeda or their like-minded organizations. we must remain vigilant, both at home and abroad, in the fight against terrorism. the fact is, terrorism is not the only major throa major threr sovereignty. there is one that is much closer to home, born and bread in this town, i'm speaking about washington's addiction to spending. in testimony before congress, joint chiefs of staff admiral mike mullen said the greatest
threat to our sovereignty is not iran, not al qaeda, not radical islam but it's our national debt. most people don't think of spending in terms of a threat to our sovereignty and those who do are rarely so blunt. but admiral mullen is right, we simply cannot continue to operate at this face. this year alone, the federal government will spend $3.7 trillion while only collecting $2.2 trillion. does this sound like responsible budgeting to anyone? the average american family doesn't have this luxury. if you or i tried to run our household in this manner, the bank would eventually cut us off. it's time we apply the lesson to washington. it's time we cut the government off. this is long overdue. our national debt stands at a jaw-dropping $14.3 trillion. foreign holdings account for almost half of these obligations, and much of that is
owed to countries that are not always friendly to us. this is the very reason that admiral mullen sounded the alarm on what a big security threat our debt has become. being indebted to countries with ideals, value systems and agendas that are often at odds with ours puts us in a very precarious sweatio situation. for example, china owns $1.2 trillion of our debt. the chinese government contends that it won't use this liability for political advantage, but this is the same government that also claims that there are no human rights violations in that country. clearly, the chinese government's word is not a promise that we should bank on. along with the chinese, a portion of the list of foreign creditors reads like a who's who of take early to regimes -- dictatoria will regimes, iran,
libya, make up the rogue gallery of nations that own some of our debt. these dictatorships along with other i will exporting nations, such as saudi arabia, whose role in spreading radical islam is well documented, come in at number four on the list of foreign creditors. we are currently engaged in an operation with our nato allies against qadhafi's regime yet rely on it in part, no matter how small the part, to keep our government operational. this is the problem with our reckless spending. we cannot put ourselves at the mercy of foreign governments. it is irresponsible and dangerous. we must act now to get our spending under control and pay down our debt. mr. president, we cannot run a country on a visa card, nor can we keep kicking the can down the road for future generations to address. our debt is a national security problem and this is one that our brave men and women in uniform
the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: i'd ask that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. levin: the subsidies to oil gansdz companies in the form of tax breaks cost the federal government in the neighborhood of $4 billion a year, but most democrats, including this democrat, propose to do is to end those subsidies and to use the money that we save by ending them to reduce our federal budget deficit. this is not a particularly complicated issue. if oil and gas companies were struggling, if a large number of jobs were at risk, if ending these subsidies threatened to increase the price that families have to pay for gasoline or fuel oil, or if ending them would create a drag on our fragile economic recovery, if any of those things were true, this might be a closer call. but they're not true. we are subsidizing massively
profitable oil companies. nearly every independent analyst and even some from the oil industry itself tells us that this proposal will not alter the economic fundamentals that determine gasoline prices. oil production and, therefore, the jobs that it creates, will not disee klein if we pass this bill -- will not decline if we pass this bill. struggling families and small businesses will not hurt. and by ending them, we can help close a budget deficit that we all agree is a significant problem. the arguments against this measure are misguided. republicans have claimed it would increase gas prices. independent economists disagree. for instance, the nonpartisan congressional research service reported last week that -- quote -- "prices are well in excess of cost, and a small increase of taxes would, thrforts, be less likely to reduce oil output and, hence, increase petroleum
product gasoline prices. even the tax expert of the american petroleum expert said last week that the proposal -- quote -- "would not affect the global economics underpinning oil supply and demand," which explain today's gasoline prices." close quote. that's an important point to keep in mind. the price of oil depends on a number of factors, one of which is supply and demand for this internationally traded commode if i. another factor, one which i and several other senators believe bears further examination, is the role of speculation in that market. but the money that we're talking about saving is relatively small in the context of a massive global marketplace for oil. it is also small relative to the profits that oil companies have reached. the five companies that would be affected by the proposal that we support made a combined $76
billion in profit in 2010. now, that's not revenue. that's not sales. that's profit. $76 billion in profit. from 2001 to 2010, their combined profit approached $1 trillion. the price of oil in the neighborhood of $100 a barrel, these record profits are likely to continue. these companies do not need taxpayer assistance. and at the same time the money to this awe spend helping them is increasing the budget deficit. the deficit that our republican friends say justifies making dramatic reductions in health care for our seniors, support for our college students, head start for our youngest students and other draconian cuts. yet tax breaks for companies making billions of dollars a year in profits is something they say we can afford. i don't buy it.
more importantly, the american people don't buy it. the american people know these tax breaks. we can't afford for companies that can more than afford to lose them are wrong. the know that if we're going to get sear imbrues about our debt problem, we need to eliminate tax expenditures that contribute to our deficit. they know that if we can't tackle such an obvious example of wasteful spending as this, further reform is unlikely. the american people recognize the fundamental unfairness of tax breaks for oil companies making billions in profits, at the same time working families are told they will have to do with less. last week when the c.e.o.'s of major oil companies testified before the finance committee, they said that they want to be treated just like everybody else. i say, fine. let's do that. let's tell the massively profitable oil companies not to expect tax subsidies from uncle
sam. and let's expect those companies to give a little bit, as we address the budget deficit, just as middle-class american families are going to have to give a little bit, as we cut back on important programs for them. mr. president, our republican colleagues say that our deficits are unsustainable, and i agree. they say the deficit problem is you are urgent. and i agree. they say we must act, and i agree. and we can act. we can end these oil companies' subsidies. now is the time for all of us to act to end billions of dollars in handouts to massively profitable oil companies and use that money to help put our fiscal house in order. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana.
mr. coats: thank you, mr. president. i appreciate the remarks from my colleague, senator levin. i just caught the tail end of that, but it's a good segway into what it is i would like to say today. today is may 16, an important day for me, as it happens to be my birthday, although i'm not really anxious to have anymore birthdays, and it is no big deal. it is more important after day because this is the day that treasury secretary geithner said we have reached the debt limit ceiling. i read from this missive that just came out a bit ago. he announced on monday morning that the federal government had met its statutory borrowing liments of $14,294,000,000,000 cap. this is the day we've been talking about for a long time,
and in fact it's the date that had beentize tied as probably the -- advertised as probably the date that probably the united states would hit the limit. here we are with an empty floor on monday. and people are saying, whew, shouldn't you -- whoa, shouldn't you guys have been in every night last week and all weekend to avert hitting this limit, because doesn't this mean that we have to default on our debt? well, as the article goes on to report, through a series -- "through series of extraordinary measures designed to stave off a potential government default, treasury has been able to move some money around so that now we won't reach that magic date until august 2." well, is this good news or bad news? well, it's maybe good from the
standpoint that we may have avoid add catastrophic situation today, but it simply postpones the date of the inevitable. what i fee is that it simply gives us -- what i fear is that it simply gives us more time to not seriously get engaged in deal with what is arguably one of the largest crisis in american history, if i cannily american financial history. when we look at what has been transpiring over the last several years, as all of us have watched with alarm our debt limit continue to climb at unprecedented rate, there has been not nearly enough debate and engagement in how we should address this. now, i know the last several months have been filled with proposals and plans and dire predictions, and the last year, 2010, election year, certainly aroused the interest of the american people where i think for the first time the reality
of what the increase in the debt and the deficits is doing to our country's financial health. i had this chart here on the left which says "total u.s. debt and statutory debt limit from the years 1941-201." in 1941, we were, as of december, engaged in world war ii. and we see a small little spike here in terms of the debt limit. understandable because we were in a crisis situation, and we had to put all of our efforts and expenditures into production to address the war needs. but as we can see from 1941 all the way through to 1981, we moved along at a fairly low level of increase in debt, and finally hit the $1 trillion mark in 1981.
so far more than -- so for more than 200 years in this country we had run this country without going more than $1 trillion this debt. that's enough as it is. but i remember at the time in 1981 people were saying, how could this be possible? how could we possibly have reached this limit, $1 trillion? we can hardly comprehend it. well, the sad news is that since 1981, we have been on a steady incline which have been accelerated dramatically in the last few years of debt. and today, may 16, 2011, we have hit the total of nearly $14 $14,300,000,000,000 of debt. and this line continues off this chart and much higher in this room, as we project forward the spending, much of which is occurring because of mandatory spending put in place on programs that were locked in, and it's obligatory spending on
the part of the federal government. and of course as we go forward, interest rate on our debt increases and the amount we pay each year increases. and so we find ourselves in a spiral, upward spiral of debt, that seems to have no end. now, this is no surprise to most people because there has been focus on this all across america, throughout -- in the last couple of years throughout this brief period of time. people have had to stretch their own dollars at home in order to make ends meet. businesses have had to make significant changes in their -- in the way they do business in order to make their ends meet. state governments have found that they're deeply in debt and have had to take some dramatic measures. but it's only now that the federal government is starting to look seriously at what we need to do. all throughout the year 2010,
with no budget in place, congress continued to spend. but i'm not here today to place blame on any one individual or any one group. i'm simply here today to point out the fact that we have a serious crisis at hand, and it deserves serious debate, and a serious solution. or we're tbg to find our country in very, very difficult straits. from this point forward, congress has been run by democrats and republicans. the presidency has been held by democrats and republicans. so we can go back and say who's responsible for this and who is responsible for that, and what about here and what about there? that's a wasted effort at this particular point in time. this is the situation we face, and this is the situation with which we must deal. i regret that the senate to date, other than activities like senator levin and i -- senator
levin was engaged in and i'm engaged in, and that is coming to the floor when the issue is not before us in terms of seeking a resolution, but simply stating the facts and urging us to move forward. i regret that this year we have spent a total of only four hours and 20 minutes of actual debate on the issue that has been put before us. instead we have been tied up for weeks on not trivial, but far less serious measures -- nominating some judges to district and appellate court positions, dealing with the federal aviation administration bill which took several weeks. and now we have been stuck on the small business authorization bill for several weeks, injecting here and there some debate and talk and some discussion about the deficit, but no real focus on that.
if we do not set aside the less important and begin to focus on what we need to do, we're going to quickly find ourselves into the month of july careening toward an august 2 deadline, at which -- during which time the uncertainty that exists in the investment community, in the business community and households in terms of spending and what the future might bring, all of that continues. what the world is waiting for and what the world is watching and hoping and praying for is that the united states congress and the executive branch will work together to seek a solution to this problem that will bring reassurance to the investment world and bring confidence to our population that we've gotten serious and we're going to do something about this. none of us believes this is
going to be easy. none of us believes this is going to be painless. but we simply cannot postpone the debate that needs to take place not only in this chamber and in the house of representatives, but between the house and senate and the white house. some conversations have already started in that regard. but also across the nation. this is a debate that has to come before the american people because they are going to be the ones to bear the brunt of whatever cuts and whatever solutions need to take place in order for to us get our fiscal -- put us on a fiscal track to better balance. mr. president, if i've learned anything in discussions outside this chamber with people who have studied and analyzed and looked at this, it's that several things must take place, and they must take place immediately. a host of people who have spent their lives understanding the
dynamics of the financial system, understanding the consequences of debt as a percentage of gross domestic product, understanding the consequences of how a nation rising to this level, the consequences of that to its people and to its financial future and its stature in the world and its ability to do the many wonderful things that the united states has been able to do, to lead the world in so many different areas. all of this is in jeopardy if we don't address this. and what they are saying, if i could bring that into just some basic conclusions, is, number one, this crisis is real. all tough do is look at -- all you have to do is look at this chart to understand. here's where we were at world war ii having to go into debt which we thought was serious at the time.
look as what's happened in just the last 30 years. so the crisis is real and is measured by historical analysis of nations that have faced these kinds of situations before, the consequences are always dire. therefore, number one -- and i was glad to hear my democrat colleague acknowledge this is the case, because this is something both sides of the aisle are going to have to deal with and both sides have to recognize that, one, the crisis is real and it's now. the second conclusion is we have to act now, not later. this is not something that we can postpone. for years and years and years as this line has gone forward, congress has said we need to get to that, and presidents have said also reneed to get to that -- we need to get to that right after the next election. there's always a next election. the latest thing we hear is we need to take tear of that after the 2012 election. the american people spoke loudly
and clearly in 2010. if that wasn't a wakeup call politically, i don't know what will be. nevertheless, falling into the trap of saying waiting until the next election we might be in a better position to deal with it then simply postpones the inevitable and potentially brings about a crisis which will occur before the election in 2012. it is shameless, i think, to put before the american people that the political situation is such that we're not willing to address this now, and, therefore, we're putting their lives, their futures, their children's futures and children's children's futures in jeopardy while we place a higher priority on the political outcome of 2012 rather than what we were elected to do in 2010 and years before. so, one, the crisis is real. two, we have to act now without delay. number three, if we do something, it needs to be a
comprehensive plan, a plan that includes all aspects of federal spending. we need to talk about the discretionary part of our budget, which we vote on every year, although in the last couple of years we haven't had a budget, haven't had single appropriations bill votes. we've had continuing resolutions and supplemental spending bill occasions which is not what we were elected to do and not a good way to govern. we have to address that portion of the budget. we cannot exempt major sectors of our budget like interest and defense and mandatory spending. and we must include entitlements. that's number four. if you don't have a comprehensive plan that includes everything, then the burden falls on a disproportionate share of discretionary spending that i think undermines essential programs that the government ought to be engaged in. we can't get from here to there without including all aspects of
the budget, including comprehensive tax reform. that's another thing these experts have said. they basically said the comprehensive plan must include some basis on which we move forward with tax reform. senator wyden and i have cosponsored a bipartisan bill for that very effort. we're not saying it's the perfect bill, but we're saying it's something in place with which we could start on and address comprehensive tax reform to broaden the base and bring in more revenue and, more importantly, to stimulate economic growth, which has to be a very important part of our solution. entitlements is a must. that's what these people have said. you cannot get from here -- from where we are now to where we need to be unless we include medicare and medicaid and social security reforms. we all know there are structural problems, given the massive move into retirement age of the baby boom population of this country. we all know that these programs
are teetering on the edge. there was just a report from the trustees of medicare last week saying that they're moving up five years before medicare runs out of money in order to pay for benefits that are promised under that program. we all know that there are some relatively painless solutions the earlier we start in terms of of adjusting retirement age, in terms of adjusting some formulas and making some of the changes that have been proposed that we're talking about. but if we don't include that entitlement spending in our discussions, we're not going to be able to reach a successful conclusion. another principle that they've enlisted is that we have to make this for the lock term and we have to lock -- this for the long term and lock it in. we have to guarantee the promises we make and commitments we make as we address this problem of how much to cut and how to change the tax code and how to work through the revenue side of this effort, they have
to be locked in place and guaranteed. hopefully with the passage of a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. we failed twice in the 1990's in this senate to pass a constitutional amendment to send to the states for ratification; failed by one vote on two occasions. i wonder what would have happened had we passed that. i don't wonder. i know what would have happened. we would have been forced to make the decisions at this point on the chart, which would have brought us back to here, instead of now having to go from this point on the chart all the way down. much more painful process than had we passed that amendment there. what we want to avoid when we are forced to do this -- and it's going to happen. we have to do it -- we need to lock that in, in a path that will bring us back to fiscal parity and balanced budget and lock it in with a constitutional amendment. it can't be done with one year.
that's why the other principle here is this has to be a long-term process in getting us from where we are to where we need to go. we need to stay with it. we can't just pass it for two years, elect a new congress and come in and make these changes. if we move forward and if we can come together to find a rational solution to this, it will send -- and this is the last point -- it will send a tremendous signal around the world to all of the investors who look to the united states as a safe-haven last-resort place to put their money. the dollar will be rescued from falling against other currencies. it will continue to be seen as the world's currency. confidence in the united states as a safe place to put your money will be restored in nations around the world. the american people will have a tremendous psychological sense of relief and assurance that we're finally getting serious
about doing something about this crisis that faces us. lastly, what i would like to say, mr. president, is to send a message to the president -- president obama -- the majority leader, to my colleagues, the republicans and democrats, to the minority leader and others, the time is now. i believe we should suspend as soon as we can everything but the absolute essential and spend the next amount of time, starting now, debating and working through whr-rbgs it takes day -- whether it takes day, night and weekends, rolling up our sleeves, sitting down, holding this debate across the country to get input from the public. but also meeting together, work to go find a solution to this which we all recognize has to be done, without letting this thing trail all the way to late july and then do something in a panic. this crisis is going to occur.
it's going to occur probably sooner than we think. and the last piece of advice they gave us, i know i said this a minute ago, but the other piece of advice they gave us was trust us. you do not want the financial market to force you into doing things that believe done in a rush, will be done in a panic, that won't be rationally supplied. instead of being on a principled, rational way of solving this problem, we will be in crisis mode and we will be having to make decisions that will have significant negative impact on our public and on the world. so, mr. president, i hope to keep talking about this. i hope to keep urging our leadership to suspend all but the essential of what we are now doing, and all of us to commit whatever time it takes to bring about a debate and a decision as
thousand we're going to go forward -- as to how we're going to go forward. put it before the american people. let our yea be yea and our nay be nay. and at least we will know where we stand and we hopefully can come together to find a reason to forego letting the markets do this for us, which everyone can see is not the way to go. with that, mr. president, i'm going to yield the floor, and i notice the absence of a forum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. kyl: mr. president, i ask the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kyl: thank you, mr. president. i wanted to speak for a few minutes today about the effort that we have undergoing right now with the vice president and our colleagues in the house of representatives to find a way to constrain spending, reduce our deficits and debt sufficient to warrant a -- an increase in the debt ceiling. as the president has asked us in
the congress to do. we're told by the secretary of the treasury that around the 1 first part of august, the united states will run up to the debt ceiling and therefore congress needs to pass legislation to extend that authority. essentially this is because financial commitments that the united states has already made can only be paid if we borrow pony to pay those financial commissions and, therefore, the debt ceiling would need to be increased. and members of both bodies and on both sides of the aisle have acknowledged that one of the primary things that we need to do at the same time that we raise the debt ceiling if that is to be accomplished is to ensure that we don't have to keep doing that in the future that. is to say that we don't keep piling on more and more debts by increasing spending in the future so that certain things will be necessary at that time, some constraints on future spending, some limitations on the ability of congress and the president to pass additional
appropriations for -- for spending, for example, setting limits on our budgets for the next -- at least the next couple of years so that we know exactly how much congress would be authorized to spend. and, of course, those limits should take us back in time. they should not be increasing the amount of spending but should actually result in reductions. tackling entitlements. we all know that the big money is in entitlements, like medicare, medicaid, social security and some other forms of what's called mandatory spendi spending, spending that is committed to groups of americans that doesn't require congressional action but money that we know we're going to have to spend in the future, enormous sums of money -- in the trillions of dollars -- that if we're not able to trim in one way or another or at least stop the increases in growth, we're not going to be able to afford those programs in the future and would, therefore, have to continue to raise the debt ceiling. another question that's arisen
is whether or not it would be helpful in this connection to raise taxes. i have said, and the republican side has said, we will not raise taxes as a part of this exercise in extending the debt ceiling. now, there may come a point in time later this year or next year where all of us would get together and engage in what some have called fundamental tax reform or i like to call pro-growth tax reform, because i think a lot of economists believe that our tax code today is not con do yousive to economic growth -- conducive to economic growth and that were we to make it much simpler and do things like reducing the corporate tax rate, for example, we could be much more competitive with our foreign trading partners. the president himself has made the point that we could reduce the corporate tax rate were we to eliminate what some have called loopholes and thereby reduce the -- the amount of money that we have to collect
through the tax rate itself. and this is a potential when we get into that kind of reform. but i want to distinguish the point here of rebalancing our tax code to get a pro-growth kind of tax code with the possibility of generating more revenues to deal with our debt situation. those are two totally different situations. and while i would be very much in favor of taking a look at these tax expenditures, various subsidies, for example, to different groups to see whether we could reduce some of those subsidies and thereby reduce tax rates in a revenue-neutral manner so that our tax code would be more conducive to growth but in a revenue-neutral manner, meaning not in order to raise revenues but in order to have a more sensible tax code so that we could be more competitive with our trading partners, for example. that's what the president, as i understand it, proposed relative to our corporate tax rate, which is the highest in the world today. and if we could get that rate
down from 35% to 20% or 25%, we could be much more competitive with trading partners around the world. one way to do that is to reduce these so-called tax expenditur expenditures. just give you an example or two. we have significant tax credits and deductions that are takin taking -- that are taken for the production of things like ethanol or for production of certain kinds of whether stripping equipment or solar energy equipment. this is an effort to promote so-called green energy. well, those are pretty big subsidies. they are tax credits or deductions. they're called tax expenditures. were some of those to be eliminated or reduced, then you could i yield the floo offset tn revenue with a reduction in the tax rate, still have as much revenue coming into the treasury but have a more sensible tax code. that's an example of what i'm talking about there. let's contrast that with the situation on the -- on the debt
ceiling question because that's the one that's before us right now. we're going to have to act on the debt ceiling in the next couple of months or so and the question is, how should we deal with our ballooning deficits and debt in order to warrant increasing the debt ceiling above whats today -- above what it is today. and the answer, of course, is to reduce spend, not raise revenues or increase taxes. i don't think anybody is suggesting increasing revenues by increasing tax rates but some people have said well, we can eliminate some of these loopholes or tax expenditures and that's a way that we can collect more revenue. if a company can't take a certain credit or deduction, then it's going to have to pay more in taxes. and i wanted to make the point, no, if we're going to get into that kind of discussion, we should do it in the context of reforming our tax code so that we can use those increased revenues in order to reduce the tax rates, as i said before, so that our country can be more
competitive. that's the -- that's the context in which we should be discussing the reduction or elimination of some of these so-called tax expenditures. just in looking at this in an abstract way -- and then i'll get more specific about numbers -- our problem here is spending. we've increased spending so much more than it's ever been in the past that we're very -- we're getting very, very deep in debt. to give a comparison here. over 25% of g.d.p., that's the amount that we're now spending here at the federal government level. our historic level is just above 20% of the g.d.p. that is an enormous increase in the amount of spending by this country. now, some will point out that the revenues collected by the treasury are also down and that that's contributed to the deficit. and to some extent, that's true. but what are the reasons for it? it's i'maril primarily because e recession that we've been in
since the end of 2006, the decrease in the amount of money that individuals and businesses are making and, therefore, a reduction in the revenues collected as taxes by the i.r.s. so revenues are down but it's due to the -- the recession that we have. we have not cut tax rates in the last few years, since 2006, for example. the last time that we had any kind of tax reduction was as a result of the 2001 and 2003 so-called bush tax cuts. but we were generating a lot of revenue in this country before the recession. the recession has caused us to generate less revenue, both as families and as state and local governments and as the federal government. but c.b.o. figures demonstrate that under any of the budgets that have been offered, including the obama budget, we will be back to historic average levels of tax collections in just the next few years,
something on the order of 20% of our gross domestic product. so the revenues are not the problem. they are going to be back where they have always been. our problem is the spending. and as i said, the spending in this country is now above 25%. i misspoke a moment ago when i'm talking about collections. the tax collections in this country have averaged somewhere between 18% and 19% of our gross domestic product. the spending has been a little bit above 20%. so the revenues are going to get back up to that 18% or 19% under any of the budgets that have been suggested, the ryan budget, the obama budget and others. the problem is spending. under the obama budget, spending never gets below 23% of the gross domestic product. in the ryan bu it goes from th the -- ryan budget, it goes from the 25% that we are today to below 20%. i think after ten years in the ryan budget, passed by the house of representatives, it's about
19.9% of the gross domestic product. so that's a way to get spending down to historic levels. revenues will be back up to historic levels and that's the way that we have both a vibrant economy and we produce the revenues that the federal government needs to operate without having to borrow 40 cents or 42 cents on every dollar as we have to do today. so when so when we're talking about how to get the budget better balanced, how to reduce our deficits, we shouldn't be looking at the revenue side or the taxing side. we should be looking at the spending side. and on spending, we know that the big money is in the entitlements, not the discretionary part of the budget. we need to as a down payment, be looking in order of magnitude of about $2 trillion here. speaker boehner has said that, if the administration wants to increase the debt ceiling by $2 trillion, then we should show $2
trillion in savings. if it's $1 trillion, then let's make it $1 trillion. so far in our negotiations, we're only talking about a couple hundred billion dollars, and we've got get up to the $1 trillion and $2 trillion level. over the course of ten years, we're going to have to at least double that. nor than $4 trillion, if we're going to handle the long-term debt problem. that's how big it is. urchedz the ryan budget, the -- under the ryan budget, the actual deficit ceil something increased by $5 trillion over ten years. so we're not talking about slashing everything in half. we're talking about continuing to have to br borrow more money0 to pay our bills. under the obama budget, the amount we would have to borrow in addition to what we have is $12 trillion. so president obama would be asking us to raise the debt ceiling by another $12 trillion. and that's not sustainable in this country. it's got to be more along the
line of the ryan budget, ace said. and that means we're going to have to come this year with at least $4 trillion -- between i would say $4 trillion and $6 trillion in savings in order to be able to bend this spend curve downward over time. that means at least a couple trillion dollars as a downpairntle at least double that over this ten-year period, that means a lot more than what so far our negotiations are talking about. and i don't doubt the good will of all of the parties to try to achieve that objectivement but what i'm saying is it can't be achieved by just look at domestic and discretionary spending. you've got look at fundamental entitlement reform in order to achieve those kind of saifntle for those who say that may change the medicare program or the social security program, two things: iring's one, nobody is talking about changing any of those programs for anybody that's currently on them or even somebody who is going to be on them within a ten-year period of time. so we're not talking about people that are on social
security or people who are even nine years away from sfnlgt and, second, with respect to the bifts that are promised in these programs, understand if we don't do something about them now, those benefits are not going to be there in 15 or 20 years. in fact, under social security, the law is that when it no longer has the money to pay the benefits, the benefits stop. so this is not a matter of either keeping in law what we have now or nothing. this is a matter of either fixing the programs now or having a dramatic reduction in benefits on down the road. that's why we need to tackle this issue now. mr. president, one of the reasons i wanted to discuss this on the floor today is because there's some misunderstanding of comments that i made on television yesterday, and it's easy to, i think, misunderstand people when they talk about raising revenue in the context of dealing with a budget deficit
which republicans are simply not going to raise tax rates in order to try to reduce this deficit with more revenue, as opposed to saifntle it's much different to talk about that than it is to say, there are tax expenditures that we could deal with. and if we could eliminate those or reduce those, then we could also reduce our tax rates and make our tax code more competitive. but i don't think we're going to be able do that in the next two weeks -- or, he is us could me, the next two months. my guess is it's either going to be done sometime later this fall or next year before we're able to achieve that kind of impt revision of our tax code, if we can even do it then. but i hope we can. there is a recognition by a lot of folks that there are a lost those tax expenditures which don't need to be in the code. they complicated code and pick winners and losers. and more of those we can do away with and thereby reduce tax rates for everybody. the better off we would be.
i am hopeful that we'll through these bipartisan negotiations be able to come together on significant savings. and the last point i would nag make is that i would not be concerned, however, that the united states of america will ever default on our debt. we won't. the president has made it clear. the secretary of the treasury has made it clear that we can't. if you look at the 14th amendment -- article 4 of the 14th amendment, it says we can't. so i don't think any creditor should be of the view that somehow we're not going to pay them bh their t-bill comes due. that's not going to happen. nonetheless, it's not a good situation when the income of the government is less than the bills that we need to pay. because even though we may pay creditors, that may mean that, mr. president, your paycheck and mine might be two weeks later or something like that. i'm sure all of us would like to see our bills paid on time. i think we can come together and even avoid that result if we're able to work together, as both
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: i would ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that morning business be extended until 7:00 p.m. for debate only with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: mr. president, i come to the floor to talk about a conversation i had in baltimore this afternoon dealing with the high price of